Why A Virtual Call Center Makes Sense for Your Business

2435823037_2f67cc65b1_mMany business owners erroneously believe that they can provide a higher level of service to their customers by having a live receptionist available during working hours. Although there definitely are some benefits to providing people with the opportunity to connect to a live switchboard operator, this is no longer a necessity due to the virtual call center option. In fact, making the switch to a virtual call center can actually help you greatly increase your customer satisfaction.

How Does a Virtual Call Center Work?

In the standard business environment, a customer’s call will be answered by a receptionist who than determines which office number to connect them with. Unfortunately, there are many drawbacks to this approach, including the fact that calls can be missed when the receptionist is already speaking to someone else. Additionally, it is important to note that even a highly professional receptionist can still have a bad day, and this could end up reflecting poorly on your business.

Due to this, it is becoming increasingly common for companies to switch to a virtual call center company like Avoxi. This option provides callers with a recorded message that politely thanks them for calling and expedites the process of appropriately transferring their call. As an added bonus, you will have many quality control options that you can utilize via an online dashboard such as the option to review the time and length of each call and even listen to them if you have the recording feature turned on.

Additional Perks of a Virtual Call Center

Every company from home-based businesses to large brick-and-mortar locations can save a lot of time, money and customer frustration by switching to a virtual call center. After all, you will never need to worry about someone taking a break, being tied up on another line or treating your customers poorly because they are having a bad day. It is important to note that a virtual call center is less expensive than paying a receptionist’s salary, and it will never need sick or vacation leave. Your customers are also certain to love the fact that they will be able to connect with the appropriate voicemail 24/7 because you have a virtual call center in place.

Effective Call Screening

Many high-profile businesses need to screen their callers to ensure that they do not spend a lot of time discussing irrelevant matters such as whether or not they want to change their long-distance provider. A virtual call center will make it easier to connect salespeople with a specific voicemail that is monitored for any legitimate calls that need to be returned. Alternatively, if you have a live receptionist in place, they are much more likely to get worn down by the persistence of salespeople, and this could cause them to connect high-level employees with undesirable callers.

As you can see, having a virtual call center will provide you with several notable perks. Due to this, it is no wonder that so many leading businesses have already made the switch. You can improve your customer service and reduce your expenses by signing up for a virtual call center and moving away from a traditional receptionist environment.

Creating A Strategy To Address Business Fire Risks

Do you have a fire strategy in place at your business premises? If not you should have! Since the Fire Service stopped issuing Fire Certificates every business owner is legally responsible for having their building assessed for risk and putting a strategy in place.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

We know this seems like just another niggling piece of red tape but not only could it save lives but it could save you a great deal of money. The cost of fires can be astronomical and of course if you don’t have an adequate plan in place and be seen to be active in this area you could incur fines.

A blow by blow plan

Here are our tips to ensure you stay compliant within the new fire safety laws:

  • Nominate a member of staff to be ‘fire risk officer’; if they have fire risk assessment training so much the better
  • Get a fire risk assessment for your building either by your officer or by an outside agency. This will look at all the areas of risk and give you a report which you can use to address any issues
  • From the report draw up a check-off list to ensure that these issues are dealt with in order of listed priority
  • Make sure you have a plan in place in case of fire and that your staff are well versed in; this should include how they make their way to the escape route, who is responsible for closing doors and checking everyone is out of the building and other details
  • Have regular fire drills so that in the case of an emergency, your team will know exactly what to do and panic won’t take over
  • Have a clear escape route and make sure it is kept clear at all times
  • Ensure you have sufficient fire figh
    ting equipment and that it is in good working order. This includes fire or smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers and fire blankets
  • Get your fire fighting equipment checked regularly to keep it in good working order
  • Make sure that your fire risk officer knows which equipment or risks should be checked regularly. This ensures that your fire risk assessment is an on-going process rather than something which is looked at once a year
  • Record what is checked and when it is checked for your records
  • Put training for fire safety in place for any staff that need it
  • Make sure that your Fire Risk Officer liaises with your First Aid Officer

The list may seem excessive especially if you don’t have many employees but it is far better to be safe rather than sorry after the event. It is good for compliance with the legal requirements too.

Time to get started

First things first, get your fire risk assessments completed so that you have a starting point. It’s never too soon and then you can start ensuring that you are legal in this department and get your staff up to speed.

About the Author: Harry Price is a free-lance writer and personal trainer. He enjoys guest blogging and travelling the country. 

Starting A Business? Here’s Your Checklist

So, are you tired of living off from your salary? Do you feel like you have been working too hard without being paid just as much? Or are you over with the thought of having to need more than just one job to be able to pay your bills? Or perhaps you are a student, trying to find ways to pay off your student loan as much as you could to lessen your parents’ burden?  Maybe you are a retired personnel wanting to invest money and make it grow? Or are you a homemaker whose kids have gone off to college and now has more time for yourself? In any case, today, to be able to survive, it is important to have an eye for business. Why business? Because business is the root of everything—the economy, supply and demand all rely on business and how it will grow. Even some academic institutions were built for the main purpose of profit. This is how important a business is. It is a part of the life cycle which may make or break the person. But just how do you start your business?

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Here’s your checklist:

1. An Idea That Sells. 

Before thinking of anything else, you have to know first, what it is that you are going to do. If you are good in baking, then you can probably start a bakery but with a twist—you wouldn’t want to be like the other bakeries! Maybe you can do something to lower your costs and then go for an everyday buy one take one, or a food truck that sells authentic dishes that cannot be found elsewhere. 

2. A Unique Name. 

To catch your customers or clients, you have to come up with a name that’s special and that speaks for your business. Remember, this name will carry your future. 

3. Investors 

You may or may not need investors because it depends on how big your budget is and your vision to the business. However, it would be better of course to have a partner to help you out with the chores and the errands. It wouldn’t hurt too, that they can lessen the money you will cash out. 

4. Target Market 

Who is your business for? This is in relation to the first item on the checklist. You have to know your bu
siness above anybody else. Your target market will help you in choosing your advertisements and even in the pricing strategy! 

5. Paperworks 

Now, you have to go on with the paper works such as the different permits you have to secure. In cases where the health may be at risk, be ready for an inspection in your area.

6. Headquarters 

The headquarters will serve as your playroom slash boardroom. It is where you will discuss things that you are not comfortable discussing with others such are the tedious tasks, the amount of taxes you have to pay, the multiple permits you need, and the likes.

7. Employees 

Unless you intend on a one-man job, you will need several employees to do the tasks for you.

8. Office Space 

To grow a business, you need to have a decent office. The difference between this and the headquarters is that, the headquarters can be as messy as you want it to be.The office space needs to be gleaming and presentable at all times. Choose furniture that’s elegant, classy and never goes out of style. Office furniture such as the sofa in the waiting area will show your prospective clients that you mean business. As what they say, “”First impressions last.” . Remember, your office is the reflection of your business. Treat it as your
home.

About the Author: Marie is an Interior Designer and Decorator who specializes in offering design consulting to various Business’s. She occasionally shops for office furniture from Only Office Furniture.

6 Ways To Save Energy In The Office

In these environment-conscious times, ‘saving energy’ is one of the most-used catchphrases for reducing the demand for fossil fuel used to generate power. Not only will it help save the planet, but it will benefit your household budget as well. The same goes for your workplace, naturally, when you apply your home energy-saving habits to your place of work.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Here are a few suggestions.

Don’t Use More Light Than You Need.

You can use a desk lamp for your table instead of the overhead lights when alone in your work room, for instance.  Position your desk near windows so you can use the day’s natural light while it lasts: not only will it save you energy, but it is much healthier and pleasant to your eyes than artificial lighting. Use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) as much as possible: they use about 70% less energy than incandescent lighting. Switch off unneeded lighting, particularly in less-used areas such as storerooms and conference rooms.

Turn Off Equipment When Not Using It.

Switch off equipment such as printers, copiers and scanners not being used. It takes only a second to switch them on for use. Turn off computer monitors if you will be away for more than a few minutes like when going on a coffee or lunch break. Switch off even the computer itself if it will not be used for over an hour. Even a few watts saved each time may accumulate to a substantial amount after a while.

Similarly, unplug all power equipment at the end of the day and most importantly on weekends. Appliances on standby mode still use some power even when switched off but plugged to outlets.

Close the Drapes or Blinds

Do this when leaving for the day or weekend to conserve internal heat and reduce the amount of energy needed
to raise the temperature to comfortable levels for the next working day. Some rooms don’t require heating up or cooling down much such as storage rooms as they are infrequently used. Likewise, cooler or warmer corridors will discourage employees from loitering there, increasing work time.

Program your Thermostats

Make Sure the thermostats switch off during the night and switch on only a little time before the rooms are used. Remember, HVAC systems require about 150 times the power lighting systems need. Heating and cooling comprise about half the total energy bill in offices, so save on air conditioning power and you slice off a significant portion of your power bill.

Maintain Your Equipment Well

A dirty airconditioner or heater will work harder to produce the same amount of coolness, increasing power consumption. This principle applies to all mechanical devices or parts, such as those in printers and copiers. Scheduling maintenance fo
r them will ensure efficient performance from these machines.

Make Your Own Energy

Finally, to save energy, the best way is to install solar power generators to make use of free power. The initial investment will be paid off over time through savings on power bills and, if you generate more than your needs, you may even get paid for the power you plow back into the power grid.

So save energy in your workplace as much as you can. Who knows? Maybe management will share the savings with you via bonuses and other emoluments. Then you benefit direct.

About the Author: This article was written by Kim from MSE. Kim has been blogging for about 5 years and has loved every second. Apart from blogging Kim enjoys music and exercise. 

5 Most Effective Tips To Boost Your Home Business

Operating your own home business is certainly exciting, but if you want that home business to be a success it is essential that you are operating that business properly. Not all home businesses will be around in one year, much less 5 or 10. Those businesses that do not succeed are those whose owners were unwilling to put forth the effort required to boost the business. If you want success you have to live success and this means putting forth all of the right skills and techniques.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

But, even those who have all of the motivation in the world may not find their home business a success if the right steps and tips are not used. Do not allow yourself to become a part of this scenario. Instead, use these 5 effective tips and boost your business greatly. Success is a given with this enlightening information.

1. Go Social

Social media is where it is at. If you are a home business owner, using social media can put you in the mi
x of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds from around the world. Each opportunity of meeting these people is one that can help you grow your business. You can reach consumers by building your own page, adding a variety of information, tips, photos and fun to draw in more awareness of your company. Join a variety of sites, update them regularly, interact with fans and build your brand! Thousands of business are in the mix with these social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and so should you!

2. Use Effective Marketing Schemes

Using effective marketing schemes, such as social media as outlined in tip one, helps you avoid wasting time, money and potentially trust to your business. The marketing schemes best for you are based upon the nature of your business and the people that you are trying to reach. Many forms of marketing exists, so do take the time to examine them all. Some of the most common forms of marketing include text message marketing, advertising via banner, online, etc., social media, radio and TV commercials, t-shirts and promotional items and more. Decide which of these can be of the most benefit to you.

3. Keep up with the Latest Trends

When trends change your business should change, too. The world around you matters the most in the success around you. When you are aware and up- to- date with all of the trends, your home business can benefit greatly. This is a true statement no matter the type of business you are operating from your home.

There are many blogs you can follow to keep up with the latest trends. One of the blog I follow is Jobs8Home where I get the tips on growing my online business.

4. Have a Plan

Going into any deal without a plan is one of the riskiest things that you will ever do. When it is time to find success with your home-based business, this is the last thing that you want to happen. It is simple to create a business plan. Inside of this plan include your projections for profit, loss, and goals for the future. Know what you want to do and how you are going to do it, and put it in writing so that you can easily go back and look at it any time it should be needed.

5. Have a Mentor

Having a mentor who has been there, done that can provide you with a great amount of assurance and confidence in your endeavors.

Look for someone that has been successful in running a home business, whether this person is found locally or online. One great online source to look at is known as SCORE. It is a free service that is used for monitoring and mentoring.

The Perils of Being an Out of State Landlord

2 abandoned homesPurchasing property for investment purposes can be challenging for a landlord with the tasks of collecting rent and upkeep. However, buying a dwelling out of state can significantly increase your worries and concerns. The following are a list of perils that come with your distant investments.

Potential Legalities

Handling evictions and arbitration can be time consuming and costly when you’re an out of state landlord. If you need to make additional trips to deal with the ousting of the current tenants and seeking legal help along the way, you may have to incur expensive fees. This can eat up a majority of your profits if you have to make court appearances and post legal documentation. It can run you 10% or more to enlist the help of a property management team, and it is highly doubtful they will keep as watchful an eye on your home as you would.

Vacancies

Homes without residents tend fall into disrepair, and are often the site of break ins and vandalism  – adding to the stigma of absentee ownership within a neighborhood. The longer the vacancy, the more maintenance is generally necessary, and with nobody there to report potential problems (such as leaks, pests, and squatters, the bigger your problems can become. There are companies who specialize in renovation and cash buys, which might be a welcome solution for your situation.

Maintenance & Upkeep

Property investors who own a dwelling close to them can do much of the work on their own. Chores can include lawn and snow upkeep, plumbing fixes, painting and general maintenance. This can allow you to save quite a bit of money in the long run and keep your costs and maintenance fees to a minimum. Hiring a management company to oversee the handling of your dwelling can prove much for expensive, and sometimes their attempt to save you money means low quality performance.

Neighborhood Changes

It can be hard to keep up with neighborhood changes when the property that you own is so far away. Whether the homes are becoming run down and dilapidated or the neighborhood properties are reducing in price, you may find it difficult to keep up with any changes when you’re long distant. A realtor or property management company can alert you to any abnormalities, but it can come at a price. Having something nearby is much easier to manage, and you’ll know when to sell before the changes become too apparent.

Tenant Accountability

Finding good tenants can be difficult for any landlord. Since the dwelling is not their own, some renters feel that it’s just not their obligation – and a tenant with a landlord out of state may be even less accountable. This can be especially difficult when you’re trying to get your tenants to follow rules, guidelines and regulations that pertain to their living arrangements. It can be even more trying when it comes to collecting rent in a timely manner. You may have to enlist the help of a management company just when it comes to collecting fees and follow through.

Owning investment property can be a cost-effective way to make additional income. According to http://pdxrenovations.com/, however, being an out of state landlord can place you at the forefront of many obstacles and perils, especially when it comes to collecting rents and maintaining the value of the investment. It might be time to consider selling your out of town rentals, so you can purchase something nearby that you can more easily manage yourself.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dottiemae/5575141678/

So You Want To Own A Coffee Shop?

For many of us, it is a long-time dream to own our own business. Working for yourself, enabling others by giving them employment, building something tangible and profitable – these are all good reasons for turing to your inner entrepreneur and drawing up a business plan. For those go-getters who love the buzz of people, the idea of owning a coffee shop might be very appealing. Café culture is more popular than ever and with our on-the-go lifestyle more people are drinking coffee than ever before. Although coffee giants like Starbucks owns most of the market share, there is a growing demand for unique, independent cafes. The market is continually growing. In 2012, there were over 5500 independent coffee shops  listed in the UK. If there was ever a good time to open your own coffee shop, now is that time.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Do your research

As with starting any business, it is paramount that you do proper research before hurtling head-fi
rst into the idea of opening your coffee shop. You can read many books on the topic, but nothing beats learning from other peoples’ experience. Set up meetings with coffee shop ownerswho have already gone through the process, and ask their advice and guidance. More often than not, people will appreciate your honesty and enthusiasm and will be glad to share their knowledge.

As a coffee shop owner, you will need to know every angle of running the business, from what it feels like to take customers’ order to making the coffee to controlling stock levels. It would be beneficial to you and your business if you spend some time working the floor in a coffee shop to get a feel of what it is like behind the scenes. Working in a coffee shop for at least two years before venturing into the owner side of it will not only give you a wide open perspective of what is involved in the day-to-day dealings, it will also help you to better manage your staff once you own your
own place.

Location, location, location

One of the very first things you should consider when planning your new business is where it will be located. For a coffee shop, you want a lot of feet passing through, so a busy street or a location close to a train or bus stop will be ideal. Naturally, this prime property will cost more than one in suburbia, so do careful financial comparisons before comitting to a location. Another good idea is to see where the most coffee shops are already. Rather than avoid the competition, realise that different customers want different things, and you will attract your own coffee tribe over time. On startups.co.uk they write that consumers prefer a convenient location over stand-out coffee, something that is evident if you look at Holloway Road in North London which has 24 different coffee shops just in one street.

The grand design

While you are deciding on a locaton, checking out
the legalities of your desired area and speaking to the landlord, you should also be drawing up the plans of what you imagine your dream coffee shop to look like inside. The space that you rent in the end will have a great impact on your coffee shop’s design. Perhaps you were dreaming of big leather sofas and open spaces, but the location that works best for you only allows a few straight-up chairs and a counter area. Speak to professionals who have designed coffee shops before, as they will have trade secrets like how angling your coffee grinder at a certain angle to the counter will maximize the flow of customers into and out of your shop. Also ask professional assistance when choosing equipment such as coffee grinders, display cases or even your funiture, or do extensive research online. Everything from overhead lighting to res
taurant tables
 can be bought online, often at cheaper than at the shops.

Reality check

The most important question you have to ask yourself when heading into this endeavour is: “Do I really want to do this?” If you have a love for the industry, for people, for business and an honest desire to own your own coffee shop, nothing will keep you away from success. And hard work plus persistence will bring you closer to it faster. You also should be willing to commit to the coffee shop for a while – think at least ten years. If this sounds like something for you, now is the time for you to join the providers of caffience shots for the masses!

About the Author: has had a long affair with caffiene. It has supported her through studies, through cold nights and reunions with old friends. As a writer, she still spends a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops and leaching wifi, with a coffee always closeby.

How To Make Your Meetings More Active

For most office workers, sitting is a way of life. You sit at your desk, in the breakroom, in the conference room and definitely throughout lunch. Then you sit in your car as you drive home, sit at the dinner table and sit on the couch while you watch TV. That’s alot of inactive time, and even exercising for as much as an hour a day won’t undo the damage. From standing desks to in-office yoga, there are countless ways to sneak a little bit more movement into your day. But perhaps one of the best techniques is one that’s commonly overlooked: walking meetings. Here are a few reasons why they’re a great idea and how you can incorporate them into your office life.

What’s So Great About Walking Meetings?

1. They get the blood pumping

Whether you’ve got a team of power walkers or you prefer a quiet stroll through the park, walking will pump oxygenated blood throughout your body. This decreases the health risks associated with sitting like Deep Vein Thrombosis and insulin resistance, and also delivers fresh nutrients to your brain so you can really pump out the good ideas.

2. New environments spark creativity

There’s nothing less conducive to innovation than staying huddled in a blank-walled cubicle. Walking through different environments will help your team think in new ways. Plus, it can be fun and motivating to toggle between different routes, helping team members feel like they’re exploring while they’re meeting.

3. Set routes keep meetings on
track

As most office workers know too well, scheduled meetings often run over their time slots, cutting into your “getting things done” time. Having a set route will help ensure that when a destination is reached, the meeting is done–no spillovers.

4. Cuts through hierarchical distinctions

When you’re really trying to brainstorm creative solutions, the last thing you want is for team members to hold back because the boss is in the room. The casual nature of walking meetings helps reduce anxiety, ensuring that all ideas are heard.

5. Encourages private and distraction-free interactions

One-on-one meetings in the office are often interrupted by phone calls or colleagues with urgent requests that aren’t actually all that urgent. Walking meetings help keep meetings private and productive, allowing for greater one-on-one interaction.

How to Have a Great Walking Meeting

1. Have an agenda

An agenda is even more important during a walking meeting, as the casual nature of the setting can lead topics off track. For that reason, it’s also important that you have 100% buy-in from your team members, so they’ll be sure to dress comfortably, take the meeting seriously and be focused and engaged. For the best results, designate a meeting leader to keep things on pace.

2. Work in smaller groups

Walking meetings do best when they’re limited to just 2 or 3 people who can walk abreast on a sidewalk or path. If your team is larger than that, plan on splitting up into groups.

3. Know your route ahead of time

Getting lost shouldn’t be on the agenda. Choose your route carefully, avoiding any that will be potentially too noisy or dis
tracting. For longer routes, pick a destination where you can pick up a reward, like a coffee shop with great biscotti. This can also be a great place for a break, where the notetaker can type up any notes using a tablet and a Goldtouch mobile keyboard. Alternatively, ask your team members’ permission to record the meeting so nothing is missed.

4. Ban smartphones

Except for mapping and recording, it’s best to enforce a strict no smartphones policy. Not only will this keep everyone focused on task, but it will also prevent anyone from falling off a curb while they text (how’s that for liability?).

5. Choose the best time of day

Some teams will prefer walking in the morning to really start the day off right. Others will prefer walking during the afternoon to overcome that 3PM slump.

6. End with an action plan

< p>When your walking meeting ends, don’t just drift off to various parts of the building. Stop at the door of your office to lay out concrete action steps for every team member and set a date for your next walking meeting.

The Takeaway

Today’s modern office life revolves around the chair, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Walking meetings are a great way to sneak in a little exercise while getting to know your teammates and brainstorming impressive ideas. So slip those walking shoes on beneath that suit and get going!

About the Author: Leah Kaminsky is a writer and blogs for Goldtouch, an ergonomic keyboard company located in Cedar Park, Texas. When not working on her fiction writing, you can find her jogging with a dorky pastel visor on (hey, a girl has to protect her face). You can follow her at @JustStartApps.

Small Business Tips For Using Twitter

Social media sites are a vital part of marketing for all businesses today no matter the size of the company.  This trend is not changing, in fact, it will become more necessary for businesses to use social media in the future so if your small business is not utilizing social media, now is the time to start.  One of the top social media sites today is Twitter and if your company does not have an account then you are missing out on a great marketing opportunity.  Your company’s website’s SEO ranking is dependent upon Twitter and other sites and if you are not sure how to get started, then you need to read the tips below.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

It’s Not Just About Business

You always want to maintain your professionalism but you also want people to see who you are and what your company is about without being too salesy.  One huge mistake that company’s make on Twitter is to only focus on the business aspect of the account without being personable in any way.  The main point of being on Twitter is to get more followers and unless you only want those that you can buy online then you have to engage people and make them want to follow you and your company.  So don’t be afraid to make your followers laugh with an anecdote from the workday or by posting photos of your employees doing their job well.  Just make sure that you are offering your followers something that is interesting and that they want to retweet.

Follow Friends and Family Members

You can start getting more followers by simply following friends and family members to help get your numbers boosted.  This can be a great strategy particularly if they are already settled into the site as they will have people they know that they can recommend for
and to you.  Once you start following these other people, they will follow you back.  The first rule of Twitter is if someone isn’t a spammer, they deserve a follow back if you are following them.  This can build up your list of followers very quickly and can make your company’s SEO efforts take off.  Just make sure that you don’t beg for followers, you can let your other followers ask for you but you should never make the request on your own or you come off as desperate.

Use Other Methods to Get Followers

Once you have become comfortable with the format of Twitter and have started following and being followed by others, it’s time use other methods to gain even more followers.  Make sure you have a Twitter widget on your website so your customers can click it to easily follow you and promote your Twitter account on Facebook and other social networking sites.  It may seem like the work is never ending and to be completely honest, it is never ending.  You have to always be working to make sure that your Twitter account stays active and positive for your followers.

It is vital for every business to have a great social media presence and this includes having a great Twitter account with many followers.

About the Author: Shannon Fouts has been helping small businesses to build up their social media presence for three years and is now writing about all social media sites.

Five Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Small Business

Considering the years of hard work and sacrifice building a successful business requires, entrepreneurs deserve to maximize their profits from selling their company when the time comes. Unfortunately, many small business owners trying sell their business make a number of mistakes that can cause them to receive significantly less than what their business is worth when completing the sale.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Selling your small business doesn’t have to become an uncertain affair filled with potentially perilous missteps. By understanding where problems usually arise, you can become better prepared to handle the hurdles of selling your business, and receive maximum value for what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. With that in mind, here are five common mistakes made by entrepreneurs when selling their small business.

Not Planning Ahead

Failing to plan in advance can cause many entrepreneurs to miss the perfect opportunity to sell their business. It takes between two and four years on average to sell a small business, making long-term planning a key to any successful sale. By keeping up to date records, a thorough business history, and current sales portfolio on hand at all times, you can better prepared yourself to seize any opportunity that may present itself.

When you’re ready to sell and when you should sell don’t always coincide, so stay prepared to escalate any potential conversations about selling your business should the perfect buyer walk through your door.

Finding the Wrong Person to Represent Your Business

The importance of finding the right consultant, broker, or company to help sell your business is a crucial component of success. Too often business owners settle for the first group or individual they meet with in an effort to get their business listed quickly and the sales process rolling. However, just as the right realtor can help you maximize the value of your home, choosing the right fit to help sell your business can save you time and money in the long run.

Take the time to select the right broker for you, even if it means interviewing more than a few potential choices. Start by asking the right questions, – such as are they familiar with your industry, how much experience do they possess selling comparably sized businesses, and how long have been working in your market – setting realistic goals, and reviewing what former clients had to say. A little diligence at the beginning of the process will save you many headaches at the end.

Failing to Promote or Market

Hiring a broker to handle the sale doesn’t mean you can stop promoting or marketing your business. No one knows your business better than you, which makes you the perfect promoter to market your company to potential buyers. Even as your broker diligently works to find the right buyer for your business, you can still help to generate leads by promoting the sale of your business to interested parties.

If you’re having trouble generating leads on your own, consider turning to your sales staff for suggestions. Whether front of the house staff or account managers, the people most likely to encounter interested parties in your business are those individuals who interact with the public. Staff have a vested interest in making sure the right fit takes over a business, so don’t underestimate the value of their input.

Asking for Too Much or Too Little

While asking for more than your business is worth can leave you without any prospects, selling too low can leave you at a disadvantage negotiating a final price.

Trying to get top dollar for a business that under generates revenue will only scare away potential leads that may otherwise seriously consider making you an offer. Before deciding on an initial asking price, you need to consider a number of factors, including your marketplace, the current economy, the price of similar businesses, and your industry.

Setting too low an asking price can send several messages to any potential buyers. Has the owner become burned out and just looking to unload; do they suffer from an illness and feel forced to sell; is there something wrong with the business that’s not being disclosed. Each of these reasons could lead to you receiving a low-ball bid for your business or potentially scare away a potential buyer.

Selling to the Wrong Person

While receiving a lump sum, cash payment would be the ideal way to sell your business, not every buyer has the capital on hand to make such a clean purchase. Even though you may feel tempted to take the first offer you receive, especially if it meets or exceeds your asking price, you need to consider whether this is actually your best offer.

Selling your business for top dollar is great, but not if it requires you to enter a long-term contract that provides very little money upfront. Most businesses see at least a temporary drop in sales following new ownership, and whether sales come back up can greatly depend on the business acumen and leadership of those now in charge. Any deal that depends on the business continuing to succeed once your gone in order for you to receive what’s owed requires serious consideration.

About the Author: John Nickelbottom is a freelance writer.